On this day: Sammy Angott defeats 62-0 Willie Pep
They don’t make them like this anymore.
On March 19, 1943, former lightweight world champion Sammy Angott became the first man to defeat Connecticut’s famed boxing marvel Willie Pep, claiming a 10-round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden in New York. Scoring, on a rounds basis, favored Angott 6-4, 5-4 and 5-4.
Angott, who hailed from Washington, Pennsylvania, entered the ring with a 69-17-5 record and a wealth of elite-level experience. Among the future Hall of Famers he’d already beaten were Petey Sarron, Baby Arizmendi, Bob Montgomery and Lew Jenkins (for the title).
In November 1942, four months after suffering a points defeat to the fast-rising Sugar Ray Robinson – at welterweight – Angott had retired. The Pep fight was his first in five months, which was a huge amount of time off during this period.
But regardless of inactivity, Angott built up a huge lead that proved too big for Pep to overcome. The underdog also closed well and the decision was well received.
Pep entered the non-title showdown with Angott as the featherweight champion of the world. A professional since July 1940, “Will o’ The Wisp” had rocketed to a remarkable 62-fight unbeaten streak. He dethroned future Hall of Famer Albert “Chalky” Wright, in November 1942, and would go on to make nine defenses over two title reigns.
Sandwiched between those reigns was a horrific plane crash that left Pep in a full body cast. He was told that he would never walk again, but confounded the medical experts by becoming arguably the greatest featherweight champion who has ever lived. Following a 24-year career, he retired with a final mark of 229-11-1 (65 KOs).